Works of art often last forever, or nearly so. But exhibitions themselves, especially gallery exhibitions, are like flowers; they bloom and then they die, then exist only as memories, or pressed in magazines and books. Unless someone has the time, money, and obsession to regather the work, research how it appeared, and rehang a show—and the Zwirner & Wirth gallery has all those things, plus the understanding that forays into recent history burnish the reputation.
This Upper East Side establishment has done the art world a tremendous favor, restaging Dan Flavin’s historic breakthrough exhibition that took place at Richard Bellamy’s Green Gallery in 1964. Between 1960 and 1965, Green exhibited the work of artists who were redefining what art was, taking it into new directions, and using materials and forms in innovative ways. Claes Oldenburg made soft sculpture, Donald Judd deployed geometry and industrial materials in new ways, Yayoi Kusama painted webs of the mind, and Lucas Samaras made mind-expanding objects, paintings, and photographs. Flavin’s show pushed the Duchampian line of thinking a giant leap forward, arranging unaltered ready-mades, in this case standard fluorescent fixtures and tubes, into intensely optical aesthetic experiences. Just as Pollock found and deployed the drip—something that had always been there—Flavin wed medium, message, and space: Light fixtures became the form and the content of his art.
more from NY Magazine here.